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Poison Pull

I’ve been putting this off. It’s time to pull up the poison oak. Actually, I had already done a little but that was just the tip of the poison iceberg. Now it’s time to get serious. When I told my good buddy, Rich, that I was pulling up the poison oak by hand, he said “I personally don’t go near the stuff. I just spray with agent orange and leave it be.” While that sounds more sensible than exposing oneself to the potential suffering that poison oak can cause, we had so much poison oak that I’d be spraying herbicide over a huge area. Besides, much of it is in the trail corridor so it has to go. And even the rest of it that isn’t in the trail corridor is going to be in the way when I’m dragging bunches of slash to the burn pile.

So it’s time to gear up. Long pants, long shirt, gauntlet style rubber gloves, boots, and some kind of head covering. Then I just pull it up, bend/break it into smaller lengths, and stuff it into a contractor bag to go out with the trash. Burning it would be a very bad idea, as you’d then risk exposing the inside of your lungs to the poison. No thanks. This was bad enough. I was determined to pull a bag of poison oak each day until it was gone from this area of the property. One bag a day, that’s all we ask.

poison oak rash

poison oak rash on my forearm

I managed to knock that out in less than two weeks. However, I now have poison oak rashes on all four limbs and a minor spot on one eyelid. WTF?! What went wrong?! The worst rash spots are on one forearm and one thigh, so it doesn’t seem like it actually came from one of my poison oak pulling sessions because I was wearing long pants and long sleeves. However, when I’m doing other work such as dragging bundles of slash I mostly work in shorts and short sleeves. So I’m guessing that some of the branches I dragged uphill to a burn pile were actually poison oak. Unfortunately, that means the poison oak is still in the burn pile. Yikes! I guess I’ll have to try to identify those when I finally get around to burning. Either that or wear a respirator while I’m burning. Great. Well, at least the trail corridor is now free of poison oak. All in the name of riding. No regrets.

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